National Coming Out Day is 25!
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National Coming Out Day is 25!
Back in 1988, we used to say that coming out – being honest about our lives, and proud and open in our workplaces, schools and families – would change the world. Once people of good will knew that LGBT people were part of their lives – delivering their mail, teaching their children, caring for them in the hospital – stereotypes would fade and discrimination would be much harder to sustain.
The good news is – we were mostly right. Coming out has been and continues to be one of the strongest and most effective statements we can make on a daily basis. In the past 25 years, the number of people who have come out in their personal lives and in public positions – movie stars, elected officials, artists, business leaders and finally, professional athletes – is growing at an astonishing pace. From Ellen Degeneres to Jim Parsons, what was once considered big news is now barely noticed. That’s progress.
But the news is not all good. Many LGBT people around the country are still vulnerable to violence and discrimination. Too many young people are the targets of bullies or rejected by their families; too many transgender and gender nonconforming people are at risk of violence; and too many LGBT people live in states where they may be fired or discriminated against at work without explicit legal protection. For too many people, coming out is not a safe option.
On National Coming Out Day, Out4Citizenship is highlighting the importance of LGBT immigrants sharing their stories and the power these stories have to move comprehensive immigration reform forward. It is important to tell the stories of immigration and LGBT advocates who have come out with their stories because they know that their lived experiences are the strongest advocacy tools they have. We hope you’ll be inspired by these advocates and visit http://www.out4citizenship.org/ and share your story as well.
After 25 years, National Coming Out Day is still important. When we can, we should – loudly and proudly. Lambda Legal and each one of us must continue to do whatever we can to make our communities and country safer so that no one feels the need to hide. Every time we come out, we claim our human dignity and equal place in the world.
List of resources for LGBTQ people of all ages.
For Young People
- Know Your Rights: LGBTQ Teens & Young Adults
A guide designed to help LGBTQ teens and young adults know your rights and make sure they're respected.
- Getting Down to Basics
A tool kit designed to ensure that LGBTQ young people in care receive the support and services they deserve.
- Recommended Practices
A tool kit designed to promote the safety and well-being of LGBTQ youth and youth at risk of or living with HIV in child welfare settings.
- Resources for LGBTQ Youth
A list of state-by-state and national organizations.
For Transgender People
- Know Your Rights: Transgender
An online legal guide for trans people and their advocates.
- Transgender Rights Toolkit
A tool kit for trans people and their advocates.
- Out At Work
A tool kit designed to give you the information you need to help guide you through your work life.
- Out, Safe & Respected for Educators & Parents
A booklet designed to help parents and educators develop safe, nurturing school environments for lesbian, gay, bixexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) students.
- In Your State
A state-by-state guide of legal protections for LGBT people and their families.
Note: If you need assistance or advice about legal matters, please contact Lambda Legal's Help Desk.